#1
Just a quick question. So last night my friend and I were talking about different tunings, and i told her that i generally don't open tune or drop tune my guitar because of the effects it has on the neck of my guitar. I had heard from a few different sources that constantly changing the tuning can warp it because of the changing string tension. So, is that true? And if it is, about how long would something like that to happen? Thanks!
#2
idk about that..... but my guitar is in constant drop d and it has been for well over a year and its perfectly fine... so i would assume it doesnt matter
#3
Quote by cocaroche
Just a quick question. So last night my friend and I were talking about different tunings, and i told her that i generally don't open tune or drop tune my guitar because of the effects it has on the neck of my guitar. I had heard from a few different sources that constantly changing the tuning can warp it because of the changing string tension. So, is that true? And if it is, about how long would something like that to happen? Thanks!



Well I've been doing this with my old Ibanez G-series for the past 2 years, sometimes I'd go from E standard to drop B just for fun. I've not noticed any negative effects on the guitar, but I have heard from a classmate who worked at a guitar shop that unless you have your guitar PROPERLY set up for different tunings, including neck adjustments and such, then it will lead to damaging the neck. It can in turn affect intonation and keeping in tune eventually.

I guess it depends on the guitar, but you should ideally get it set up for a different tuning and KEEP it in that tuning. The only reason I abuse my Ibanez g-series like this is because, well...G-series are the budget versions, and easily replaced. I wouldn't dare do this with my RG or Les Paul though
#4
Quote by obeythepenguin
Constant retuning will damage the neck? Somebody tell Joni Mitchell!

Seriously, retuning doesn't damage anything, and anyway acoustic guitar necks aren't fragile. If you frequently change string gauges, that can mess things up, but retuning won't.


Actually, no. Not even. A neck CANNOT and WILL NOT warp from normal changes in tension if you have a remotely well built guitar. Normal being... tuning up or down, changing string guages, or anything like that. Unless you're trying to bend a half note by yanking on your neck, nothing will happen.
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#5
Tunings I frequently use on my guitar - Standard, Half Step, DADAAD, DADAAE and some other open tunings. The only problem I ever have is a string snapping from tuning too high.
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#6
Quote by obeythepenguin
And too heavy a gauge could tear up the top or bridge, since many guitars are only braced to take so much (i.e. "use medium or lighter strings only").

The closer a guitar is to pulling itself to bits, the better it sounds. Most guitars can handle 13's with little issue.
#7
Quote by cocaroche
Just a quick question. So last night my friend and I were talking about different tunings, and i told her that i generally don't open tune or drop tune my guitar because of the effects it has on the neck of my guitar. I had heard from a few different sources that constantly changing the tuning can warp it because of the changing string tension. So, is that true? And if it is, about how long would something like that to happen? Thanks!


I think you're confusing the word "warp" with a normal condition of the neck, which is "fretboard relief". A warped neck is completely different than a simple up/back bow of the neck, which is easily adjustable with the truss rod. Warping or twisting are both terms used by luthiers when describing a neck with problems apart and different than relief.
Changing string gauge and thereby tension will directly affect the relief of the fretboard.
Relief can be easily checked by fretting the strings at the 1st fret with a capo, then at the last fret where the neck meets the body of the guitar, 14th or so. Then a measurement is then taken in the middle of that area, approx. 7th fret from the bottom of the string to the crown of the fret. A good ballpark figure would be about the thickness of a standard credit card. The truss rod would then be used to increase/decrease that clearance.
Warpage of a neck requires the skills of a talented luthier to repair. A truss rod adjustment doesn't(usually).
#8
Quote by obeythepenguin
@ captivate -- drastically, I meant. Like from extra lights to super-heavy gauge, or vice-versa. It might not warp, but if nothing else, I suspect it would require setup work for intonation, correct? And too heavy a gauge could tear up the top or bridge, since many guitars are only braced to take so much (i.e. "use medium or lighter strings only").

Oh well, getting off-topic again.


You're right about that. You would need drastic change in setup.

Intonation though... there's honestly not THAT much you can do on an acoustic. The saddle can only be adjusted so far regardless of what strings you put on it.

As for the gauges of strings... With most steel string guitars these days, it's recommended that you don't use anything over medium. Especially on scalloped bracing guitars. They aren't built for the heavy gauges that you would have seen in the earlier to mid 1900's, which is about a .015 or .016. Not that prewar Martins could really take such a high gauge anyway... A lot of them were ruined due to the extremely heavy strings, which is why we don't have them with us today.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.